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ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 – What NZ, Pakistan and Afghanistan need to do to make the semi-finals

New Zealand

Played: 8, Pts: 8, NRR: 0.398
Remaining match: vs SL

New Zealand’s net run rate of 0.398 is the best among the three teams, but their recent form is the worst: they have lost four on the trot. The last of those defeats came against Pakistan in Bengaluru, the same venue where they will face Sri Lanka on Thursday.

Given their superior run rate (NRR), a win will significantly boost their chances of making the semi-finals, as Pakistan and Afghanistan will need victories by massive margins go past on NRR. However, if New Zealand lose, the only way they can qualify is if Pakistan and Afghanistan also lose and stay on eight, in which case New Zealand could sneak through on NRR. That will also mean a team qualifying for the World Cup semi-finals despite losing five out of nine games.

There’s also the chance of a washout in Bengaluru, with rain predicted on Thursday. If that happens then New Zealand will finish on nine points, and again, the only way they can make the cut is if Pakistan and Afghanistan lose (assuming their matches aren’t washed out).


Played: 8, Pts: 8, NRR: 0.036
Remaining match: vs Eng

Pakistan’s NRR is the second-best among the three teams. Hence, if New Zealand lose to Sri Lanka, or if their match is washed out, then a win for Pakistan against England will put them in an extremely strong position to qualify.

However, if New Zealand win then Pakistan will not only need to beat England, but also beat them by a handy margin: if, for instance, even if New Zealand win by just one run after scoring 300 in a 50-over game, Pakistan will have to win by 130 to go past their NRR.


Played: 8, Pts: 8, NRR: -0.338
Remaining match: vs SA

Afghanistan’s NRR of -0.338 is the worst among the three teams, which means their best bet is to hope that neither New Zealand nor Pakistan win their last game. In that case, any win margin against South Africa will suffice. If New Zealand don’t win their last match and Pakistan beat England by a run, then Afghanistan will have to beat South Africa by 140 runs to go past Pakistan’s NRR. If New Zealand win by a run in a full 50-over game, though, then Afghanistan’s victory margin will need to be 273 runs (assuming first-innings totals of 300). There have been two larger margins of victories in this tournament, but you’ll have to be an extreme optimist to believe that Afghanistan will pull off a win so comprehensive against South Africa.

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